Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2023, VOLUME 29, ISSUE 3

REACHED AN IMPASSE AT A MEDIATION? WAYS TO APPROACH IT

Written by Hon. Reva G. Goetz (Ret.)*

Walking between mediation conference rooms, I muse that I cannot see how this case is going to settle. The parties have reached an impasse that needs to be resolved before settlement is possible.

Apart from dealing with the legal issues stemming from the facts presented, trust and estate cases are often complicated by the history between the parties and the emotions driving each party’s approach to their case—emotions which may be deep-seated and unresolved. For one or more of the parties, the litigation may provide an opportunity to eke out revenge for a long-simmering grievance. And it may be the last time the party will have that opportunity unless the case does not settle; in which case the expense and revenge continue.1

With emotions running high, it is not uncommon in trust and estate cases to find the parties entrenched in their positions, intent on getting the result they want. When negotiations begin, neither party is willing to budge. We are at an impasse.

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